Holiday travel can be exhausting. Spread some cheer by providing a warm, comfortable place for weary travelers to rest their heads. Launder the bedsheets and guest towels so they’re fresh, soft, and warmly scented. Does the comforter need refreshing? After washing, slip a scented fabric softener sheet into the dryer with it.
Before everyone arrives, spend a night in your own guestroom. There’s no better way to gauge whether the room is too hot or too cold, evaluate the comfort level of the mattress (just right or way too lumpy?), and get the general feel of the room. Take note of how sunny it is in the morning. If it’s blindingly bright at 6 a.m., you may want to invest in blinds or curtains. If you can hear the kids shouting through the walls at oh dark thirty, you may need to institute a quiet rule while guests are in residence. Go the extra mile and leave an alarm clock, magazines, and a few bottles of water on the bedside table.
You’ve scrubbed the floors, dusted every room, and vacuumed up the pine needles on the carpet, but anticipating the items that guests might appreciate while they’re away from home is the sign of a truly thoughtful host. Have backup toiletries, like toothbrushes, toothpaste, sample-size shampoos, and liquid soap, available for visitors who may have forgotten to pack something. Keep cozy throws for snuggling in living areas and bedrooms, and leave an index card with your Wi-Fi code for guests. Bonus points for having puzzles or coloring books for kids.
Holiday Central: the kitchen
What are the holidays without delicious treats and goodies? Supplement the cookies and sweets with graze-friendly snacks your guests can help themselves to. Homemade baked goods are easy to self-serve (a buttery pound cake or crumb cake can be breakfast, a snack, or dessert). A large wedge of cheese everyone can slice and enjoy is smart; include fruit, crackers, and a basket of snack-size chips and pretzels for kids, as well as coffee, teas, and an assortment of bottled water and sodas.
Plan for a fun activity that gets everyone together. Let your family’s interests be the guide: Cook a large meal together, pull out a favorite board game (or a new one to level the playing field), schedule an outing to a local museum or park, or go sledding if the weather allows.